Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Narrated by: Noah Galvin
Publisher: Little, Brown/Hatchett Audio
Publication Date: 8/13/13
Length: 273 pages/6 hours 19 mins
Genre: YA Contemporary
Source: purchased from Audible.com
Leonard Peacock is on a mission. He’s got a gun in his backpack, and he’s going to kill his classmate — and then himself. There will be no changing his mind, it’s decided. It’s his birthday (like anyone cares about that), so he will give four gifts to the four people in his life who don’t completely suck before he completes the deed and ends his life. Leonard can’t wait for this day, and his life, to be over. What has caused him to make this decision? Why are these four people worthy of final gifts? And, most importantly, will Leonard go through with his plan?
What drives this story? Leonard. Leonard Peacock. He’s in the driver’s seat, and we’re all just along for the ride. We see the world through Leonard’s eyes, and only learn pieces of his story as he shows them to us. With a combination of flashbacks to the events that craft Leonard’s history, artifacts to explain his present, and a series of flash forwards consisting of letters from Leonard’s future, Quick exposes a complex, sympathetic character in Leonard Peacock.
My main complaint about the novel (and the reason it gets a B) is that I was not a fan of the ending. I do have to give Quick some credit for not taking this story where I predicted it might go, but overall I felt the ending was disappointing and not up to par with the rest of the novel.
Notes on the Audio
Noah Galvin makes an excellent and convincing Leonard Peacock. He can play a very depressed, confused teenage boy like a boss. I have zero complaints about the audiobook. At six hours and nineteen minutes, it’s a quick and gripping listen!
Final Grade: B
It’s always hard to say that I like a book touching on topics such as this, but I did. Call me a sucker for an emotional read — because I am. I’m a total sucker. Do note that part of the reason I picked this up is because it’s been getting a lot of 2014 Printz buzz — it’s bound to show up on some end-of-year awards lists (just like Silver Linings Playbook was prime for Oscar attention). I recommend the story to anyone who has ever wondered if it really does “get better,” fans of Humphrey Bogart movies, anyone who enjoyed The Silver Linings Playbook, and anyone who wants to read multi-dimensional male characters in YA (the female characters here are pretty flat, though). Though the issues the book touches on may offend potential censors (abuse, suicide, homicide, questioning Christianity, bullying, etc), the literary merit here makes this well worth an addition to a high school or public library.
Did you read/watch The Silver Linings Playbook?